Most women can testify that childbirth is their most painful life experience in terms of physical pain. However, over 200 Russian MDs, practicing the Buteyko self-oxygenation breathing therapy, found that superior body oxygenation guarantees painless childbirth.
The Buteyko breathing method is officially approved, by the Russian Ministry of Health, holistic medical therapy to treat heart disease and asthma. It was developed in the 1960s by Russian MD and PhD Konstantin Buteyko, who was a manager of the respiratory laboratory in Novosibirsk. During these times he led a classified project devoted to study of air composition, breathing, body oxygenation and health of first Soviet astronauts. Body oxygenation index is the main parameter of personal health for this breathing system.
In order to measure body oxygenation Dr. Buteyko suggested a stress-free version of the breath holding time test. After usual exhalation, observe how long the person can hold their breath without discomfort or stress. The breathing pattern after the test should be the same as before it: no gasping for air or deep inhalations, an easy and stress-free test.
Breathing pattern, as they revealed, is the main factor that defines body oxygen stores. How do they relate to each other? It is rather simple: the heavier and deeper one's breathing, the less their oxygenation. This law of breathing is in complete agreement with hundreds of medical studies: chronic hyperventilation (fast and deep breathing pattern) reduces tissue oxygenation of all vital organs, including the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, etc.
Modern healthy people have about 20-30 s of oxygen in their bodies (after exhale and with no stress). Their breathing is invisible and inaudible. It is light and relaxed.
Sick people with heart disease, diabetes, asthma, cancer, and many other chronic conditions have noisy and visible breathing (chest movements) with about 10-20 s of oxygen depending on severity of their disease. Numerous studies showed that they breathe about 2-3 times more air than the medical norm, which is only 6 l or air per min at rest.
Critically ill and hospitalized patients have less than 10 s of oxygen. Their breathing is very big and heavy as one can easily observe in hospitals.
The goal of the Buteyko breathing method is to have over 60 s of oxygen 24/7. As practice of Russian MDs revealed, this level of oxygenation means freedom from many chronic conditions, including those mentioned above.
How does this relate to child delivery? Superior oxygenation of muscle cells eliminates their spasm and ensures their relaxed state and oxygen-saturated mitochondria for quick and efficient child delivery so that the pregnant woman does not need to suffer for hours from unbearable pain.
Among the main factors that increase body oxygenation (or makes breathing at rest very light and easy) are:
- physical activity with strictly nasal breathing (in and out) for over 2 hours per day;
- prevention of any mouth breathing;
- prevention of sleeping on one's back;
- straight posture;
- eating only when hungry;
and many others.
More details about painless childbirth can be found in my other articles "Physiological mechanism of painless childbirth" and "Childbirth delivery time is greatly reduced by simple breathing exercise".